Asylum queue longer than 10 years ago

Updated 7 March 2022: Freemovement: Briefing: the (Sorry) State of the UK Asylum System

The United Kingdom’s asylum system has been described by the current Home Secretary as “broken”. There is some truth in that statement. In many ways, the asylum system is now in a parlous state. What the Home Secretary does not say is that it was she who broke it.
In this short briefing we will take a look at the whole of the process, from the numbers claiming asylum to the decision-making process, the cost of the system, the volume and quality of decisions, the outcomes of appeals, the use of detention and the number of removals. The information is drawn mainly from the quarterly immigration statistics and transparency data for the year ended December 2021, the most recent available at the time of writing.
Arguably the stand out problem of the asylum system today is the time it takes for decisions to be made. This is a recent development. The backlog of asylum seekers waiting more than six months for a decision to be made on their case has trebled since Priti Patel took over as Home Secretary in 2019. While the pandemic might have made the issue harder to remedy, the trend began long before it began. It looks like an example of failing to mend one’s roof while the sun shines.
Read more: Freemovement,

2 July 2021: BBC: The number of migrants waiting in the UK for their asylum claims to be processed was nine times higher by the end of last year than it was in 2010.

One is Patricia, 19, who fled war and abuse in Liberia and says her mental health has suffered during the two years she has waited for a decision.

There are currently 65,000 people in the queue, official figures obtained by the Refugee Council suggest. [Read the report here:]

The Home Office said it had a plan to “fix the broken asylum system”.

The Refugee Council obtained the figures from the Home Office under Freedom of Information legislation.

The organisation’s analysis shows the pandemic has contributed to a backlog which rose by a quarter in 2020.

The figures show:

  • the number of people waiting for an initial decision for more than a year rose almost tenfold from 3,588 in 2010 to 33,016 in 2020
  • the number of children awaiting an initial decision for more than a year rose more than twelvefold from 563 children in 2010 to 6,887 in 2020
  • and 55 applicants who applied as children have been waiting five years or more for a decision.

Asylum seekers have told the BBC how being in limbo has affected their mental health.

Read more here: